Despite several senior shadow cabinet members speaking in support of marriage equality at an agenda-setting meeting yesterday, Tony Abbott’s coalition will not change its policy on gay marriage or take part in a conscience vote on the issue.
Reports from the meeting claim that there was a “lengthy discussion” on the issue. Sources indicate that Joe Hockey, George Brandis, Christopher Pyne, Greg Hunt and Senator Nigel Scullion all supported a conscience vote when it comes up in parliament, like the Labor party agreed to at its National Conference, but did not get their way in the meeting.
Abbott has always apposed marriage equality, saying that he understood marriage as “being between a man and a woman,” and that backing down off that position would mean breaking an election promise.
Marriage equality advocate Alex Greenwich hopes it’s only a mater of time before Abbott and the Coalition reconsider, and welcomes support from several MPs in the shadow cabinet.
Recent polling shows that that 76% of Coalition voters want their MPs to be granted a conscience vote on marriage equality.